When I think of my deployment to Iraq there is one crucial moment that sticks out to me that not only made me see life differently but it made me appreciate life in general. This moment was a night not much different than any other night at first. I was off duty in my bed with my weapon lying next to me as I always had done trying to sleep while hearing the sounds of small weapons activity in the distance.
The difference this night was that it got closer and closer. Then from out of nowhere a huge boom and the metal box structure that I called home shook as if an earthquake was happening. I had heard mortars hit on our FOB before but this one seemed right out back of my hooch. I proceeded to get up as other people in my area did and took my weapon and flash light out back to find about 50 feet from where I was sleeping was a mortar hole about two meters in diameter and a meter deep.
I went back into my room and proceeded to write a letter to my wife and daughter telling them things that I might never be able to tell them in person because I did not know if I was going to make it home alive and put it in my pocket. I told them if they were reading this that I was dead. I turned on a Sandy Patti tape with the song “It is well with my soul” and played it over and over again all that night as the fighting continued and showed no sign of letting up.
This song help comfort me in knowing that no matter what we go through in life that God is nearer than our closest fear or enemy. I thought of David when he was running for his life from Absalom his son. Psalms 3:1-8 He said that God is a shield for him as he cried out and that he would not even be afraid of 10 thousand soldiers coming after him because the Lord could save him.
I knew if David was being pursued to have his life taken and he could trust God to keep him safe then I needed to and could trust the God who protects his children.
Do you have troubles in your life that are bombarding you to the point you don’t think you can hold on. Are you thinking about maybe taking your life and feel that is the only thing for PTSD because you don’t fit in. Believe me that is not the answer because I have a God that cares for the uncaring. Trust God today to take whatever burden is weighing you down. He wants us to give them to him. He stretched his arms out as wide as he could for you so you could join him in Heaven one day. If this is you please allow him to help you through your trouble whatever it is.
Retired Lt. Col. Larkin Spivey is a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War, where he served in the U.S. Marine Corps. He has taught U.S. Military History and served President Nixon in the White House. He is actively involved in the Luis Palay Ministry - Open Mic host Dan Dunn recently interviewed Col. Spivey about his new book Stories of Faith and Courage from the Vietnam War. Listen In.
Whenever I think of deployments I think of what was to me the most amazing feeling in the world. It is a feeling that unless you have deployed to a foreign country for a year and returned safely none could ever explain. As you are on the airplane for that long trip home and you watch the map on the screen showing where you are and where the next stop is and then that final moment when the pilot comes on and says we are approaching our landing to the United States please fasten your seat belts. Everyone changes into a different mode. Then it finally happens the wheels of the plane finally hit and you hear the screeching of the tires on American soil, suddenly an eruption of cheers fills the plane as if at the rose bowl stadium with 150 thousand people and the home team scores the winning touchdown you have finally arrived home safely. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up and tears started rolling down my checks. In fact even the toughest of men on the plan soften light butter in a microwave at that point.
is an amazing thing as we got off the plane in NJ to have the general greet each one of us along with a local VFW crew, it reminded me of what God did for us. In the book of Luke it talks about a son who took his fathers inheritance early and went off and squandered it. All the people he thought were his friends because of his money had left him, and he was feeding pigs to earn money he decided he would be better off being a servant for his father, at least he would have food and clothing. The only thing was he did not know if his father would accept him back. Well he not only accepted him back but he gave him the best of everything when he arrived home. He did not care what he had done just the fact that he came back home to his family.
felt very strongly when I was preparing this that someone really needed this message. If you have never received Christ as your Savior and been received into God’s family yet or maybe you think that you have gone so far and done something so bad that God would not receive you back. Let me tell you friend God wants you back in the fold and you can stop running from him. He is waiting for you so why not run back into his arms today.
Just recently I attended a Mark Sctultz Christian concert. It was a nice concert and every song that he writes is from life experience. The one is called “Letters from Home” and has to do with a family member of World War II when he was deployed and the letters that he sent back to his loved one during the war and how special they were and kept the family going.
I remember when I was deployed and before I left my oldest daughter made up some letters for me to have to open once I got there. They were about encouragement and filled with pictures and stuff and I still have them to this day. Wherever I was I kept these letters with me. For those of you who are deployed or have been deployed before know exactly what I am talking about.
I thought about how God has given us His letters from home “Heaven” which is the Bible and how that is our encouragement until we reach our final destination of Heaven and our home He has prepared for us. John 14:2-3 “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will comes back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
The sixty-six books in the Bible give us all sorts of encouragement for any situation we can find ourselves in. No one knows better what it is like to be in a bad situation than Jesus Himself. He went to the cross for us and died so we could live. But the truth is the pain of suffering was real so he knows what it is like to be in the dumps and down, so much that He sweet drops of blood praying about it to His heavenly father.
Be encouraged and know that God wants your hurts and your worries place them on Him today and find encouragement at the foot of the cross.
I could never forget coming home from a night convoy. It was the crack of dawn, in a Hummer, sleep deprived, and ready to put something other than an MRE in my stomach. We were going through the city of Mosul in Northern Iraq, near the Turkish border. There was a little girl who couldn’t have been over 9 years old. In the girls arms she carried what looked to be her little brother who was only a couple years old. She was running beside our convoy waving and blowing kisses at us saying “thank you, thank you, thank you”.
It always seems to be at those moments when you have been there a while and you ask that question “what are we really doing here”? I was doing just that and the Lord answered with this little girl and her little brother. If for nothing else in the world He showed me that they were one of the reasons we were over there.
That little girl reminded me a little of us sometimes. There are times in our life (especially at the time of coming to that relationship with His son Jesus Christ), when we are at the end of what matters. He sees us waving to Him for help and reaches down to pick us up and help us in our time of need, just as we were helping those children.
“Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” How exciting is that and I know that we can get weak quite often when doing the job that Uncle Sam asks of us. I am asking you today are you weak and in need of some pick up. Not physically I mean spiritually? Maybe you are so mentally at wits end you don’t know which end is up. I can tell you that God knows He knows better than anyone because he stretched His arms out for you on the cross.
Maybe you know Jesus as your personal Savior but you just need Him to strengthen you. He can do that. If you need prayer today please contact me through my email address and I will pray for you or if you know someone else that might need lifting up let me know. In fact in the next two verses of that same passage Matthew 11:29-30 Jesus wants to take our burdens so that we don’t have to carry them.
My name is Eric Haynes and I am an Iraqi War veteran. I served almost 12 years in the US ARMY before I was medically discharged due to bad knees in 2007. My wife Carole and I have been married for almost 18 years and have two wonderful girls Brenna 16 years, and Belle 8 years old. I have received my Bachelors of Science in Religion in 2010 from Liberty University and now am currently working on my Masters of Divinity from Liberty Theological Baptist Seminary. It is my goal and the longing of my heart to continue to serve as a Chaplain for Veteran Services once I complete this degree. I served a year in Iraq from 2005-2006 for Operation Iraqi Enduring Freedom, where my platoon was attached to the 101st airborne infantry.
I look forward in this segment to be able to share a little bit of sunlight from some of my experiences while I was in and relate it to God’s Word to give you something to chew on. A little devotional of sorts with other digging in God’s Word if you choose to do so on your own. I am calling this section of the website “Military Manna”. Manna was the way God feed His people in the Bible at times it was a type of bread dropped from heaven by doves. One way that God feeds us spiritually today is through the Bible, His Holy Word.
First let me share my testimony. I met the “ROCK” in 1975, no not Dwayne Johnson THE ROCK, former wrestler, and actor. I came to know the Lord at a very young age of 5 years old. It was the summer of 1975 at a Good News camp in Jackson, PA. It was during counseling time when the girl who would later become my sister-in-law was asking me questions and telling me about what Heaven would be like. She then asked me if I wanted to go there and when I said yes she asked if I wanted to accept Jesus into my heart. I accepted, and that day on a rock in the middle of a cow pasture I came to know “THE ROCK” Jesus Christ personally. I went home and told my mom and dad. My mom was a loving Christian mother and was so excited to hear. Since then I started getting really involved in plays and musicals at our church. Not long after my mother got me the Keys for Kids devotional from Children’s Bible Hour. She would read it to me every night and once, I was able to read I could do it on my own.
I would like to add that if you have any questions or would like to let me know how you like this section or have ideas to improve it you can contact me by my email address it is firstname.lastname@example.org.